EDITORIAL: Biking benefits are worth a try

NANAIMO – There’s just no good reason not to bike to work (or ride a bus, walk, in-line skate, etc.)

Traffic in Nanaimo isn’t that bad if considered in comparison to places like Victoria or Greater Vancouver.

Down-Island, the Colwood crawl is a legendary pinch-point of vehicles converging into a kilometres-long stretch of mind-numbing traffic congestion.

Yet even that isn’t enough to get thousands of drivers, many of whom are going only a few kilometres from the ‘burbs to downtown, out of their cars and onto bikes to bypass the bumper-to-bumper headaches.

Ironically, many of the drivers caught in the crawl look over to the Galloping Goose regional trail and watch cyclists pedal past them, saving time, money and stress while gaining myriad health benefits from commuting by bike.

Here in Nanaimo, the biggest pinch points back up motorists for no more than a few minutes – longer only if there’s a traffic mishap – yet there’s no shortage of complaints from commuters who, like so many Victorians, are going only five to 10 kilometres to get to work.

Still, those frustrations about even minor holdups fail to provide the necessary impetus to get people out of their cars and trucks. Skyrocketing gas prices aren’t doing it either.

Yet, there’s just no good reason not to bike to work (or ride a bus, walk, in-line skate, etc.) – time, money and health all lean in favour of bikes.

Unfortunately, we humans lean on our vehicles like a crutch. They’ve become ingrained in our way of life, so much so that we make countless sacrifices just to support our four-wheel addictions.

Once a year, Bike to Work Week organizers attempt to cure us of that addiction by offering various encouragements to give cycling to work a try.

With luck, a few of those who do make the effort stick with it and become advocates for a healthier, wealthier way of getting to and from work or wherever one needs to go.

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